Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Woolly Aphid Nature study

This week, I was once again reminded that I should spend more time looking at things through the eyes of an inquisitive child.

Piwi Dad called the kids out to see something on the patio on Sunday. What he had spotted was what looked like a tiny bit of dryer fluff 'walking' along the patio toward the garden. Miss K theorized it was an ant carrying some fuzz. I carefully picked it up and discovered that under the fuzz was definitely not an ant but an odd little grayish white bug with lots of legs. The Piwis were convinced it needed to be looked at closely so it was put into an old huggies wipes container with some leaves.
The new species guess was that it was like an insect version of the Decorator crab Miss K recalled from the Aquarium earlier this year. Off to google we went and a quick search of 'fluffy insects' made us realize that we were harboring the crop destroying Woolly Aphid or Mealy bug. This of course did not deter the Piwis who insisted on bringing it more leaves. I could see the irony...for the years I had heard my green thumbed Grandad talk about how bad aphids were on roses etc and now we were looking after their furry cousins. A quick search of the garden turned up an Orange tree covered in Mealy bugs and other pests...The Landlord has probably got a insect battle on their hands. We, on the other hand, had a mini ecosystem (literally) on our doorstep to spend the day observing.

The eggs on this leaf have yet to be determined. It is not likely a Mealy bug as it is not fluffy 
The observation turned into a Mealy bug research report....and a mini Lapbook
The Front cover of the Lapbook and Mini Piwi's little book she made about ladybugs.



I'm not sure how clear this is, but here Miss K has written some of what she learnt about Mealy Bugs...including 'Farmers and Gardeners think they are pests, I think they are cute and fuzzy. Ladybugs eat them'.



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